A. Duie Pyle understands staying power. The trucking company, based in the Northeast, is in its 93rd year of operation. Longevity is valued and so is loyalty.
Given these values how can the company attract and retain the largest group of workers available today, the Millennials? This group, for whatever reason and many of them quite valid, doesn’t view either of those traits as essential.
When A. Duie Pyle, which employs 2,700 (1,100 being drivers), looked at its future growth strategy, the workforce was front and center. They examined both how they were recruiting and how they were retaining employees.
The decision was made to create a leadership training program, as part of a career path program—a wise move since Millennials are said to be fond of identifiable career paths.
"As a privately-held company that looks to the long term, investing in employees is in fact an investment in our future," explains Randy Swart, chief operating officer of A. Duie Pyle.
The program, which was created three years ago, includes six months of training emphasizing the company’s core values: empathy, candor, good citizenship, service first, integrity and profitability.
Candidates for the program come from a variety of sources. Summer interns who spent nine to 12 weeks of hands-on learning, including operating forklifts and manning the docks, are reviewed for possible placements, as are recent college grads. The part-time labor pool that worked in the terminals, mostly college students, are also eligible. Internally, employees who have shown proficiency working on the dock and want to move up are welcome to participate in the program. Since the program’s launch 18 people have completed the training, with three more employees due to graduate later this year.
Another key Millennial concern is community, and for A. Duie Pyle’s employees, Swart has this covered. “In our industry, the days are long, weekends can be required and often an employee is on call. We are working to tailor the jobs so the schedules are more set.” The company also communicates more than they have in the past. Swart personally spends a lot of time with employees making sure they know they have access to senior leaders and understand that they are part of a larger organization.
The learning continues as every leader attends what’s known as Pyle University to discuss whatever issues are current within the company. Those leaders who are going to be promoted receive training for their new jobs as well.
It is through giving suitable attention to understanding that Millennials view their jobs as continuous development that companies will achieve long-term success in workforce retention. Given the level of involvement in their careers that Millennials are seeking—such as leadership and access to leadership—is a clear indication that cultivating that initiative could help increase their value as employees. Their willingness to be full participants at such an early stage could bring in new vitality and new ideas.